Pharmacy students' approaches to learning in an Australian university

Lorraine Smith, Bandana Saini, Ines Krass, Timothy Chen, Sinthia Bosnic-Anticevich, Erica Sainsbury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives. To investigate how pharmacy students' approaches to learning change over the duration of a bachelor of pharmacy degree program.

Methods. Data were obtained from a cross-sectional, repeated measures design, using a validated self-report survey instrument. Areas examined included processing and regulation strategies, motivational preferences for learning, and the relationship between approaches to learning and academic performance.

Results. Pharmacy students were strongly vocationally oriented in their studies across all year groups. This approach had a significant relationship to academic performance. Overall, students indicated a preference for external regulation strategies. There was little evidence of maturation in approaches to learning as students progressed through the curriculum.

Conclusions. Students' preference for vocationally related strategies can be harnessed to increase both adoption of self-regulation behaviors and motivation for mastery of material. Comparison of our results with other studies indicates that approaches to learning may be influenced more by the learning environment than the discipline of study.
Original languageEnglish
Article number120
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Pharmaceutical Education
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • learning
  • bachelor of pharmacy degree
  • Vermunt's Inventory of Learning Styles


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